Peace - Photo by Ragnar Jensen
Peace - Photo by Ragnar Jensen

One day, the master walked past a Christian church where the preacher was denouncing Islam.

Later, he passed by an Islamic mosque where the imam was denouncing Judaism.

Still later, he passed a Jewish temple where the rabbi was denouncing Christianity.

“Ah,” sighed the master to his disciples, “If only these religious idiots would practice the love, acceptance and tolerance they all preach, there would be peace and no need of any religion.”

Forgotten words

fish - photo by Benjamin Hollis
fish - photo by Benjamin Hollis

“The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten.

The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.

The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.

Where can I find the man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.”

– Chuang Tzu

Silence is not the absence of sound

Meditation - Photo by Vaticanus
Meditation - Photo by Vaticanus

One day, the master and his disciples sat in silent meditation in the monastery.

Suddenly, a loud clatter rang through the halls as the cook’s assistant tripped and dropped a number of empty pans he was bringing to the kitchen.

The disciples were all disturbed from their meditation and expressed their irritation by muttering and frowning. But when they looked at the master, he seemed as relaxed and calm as ever.

“How could you maintain your silence and meditation amidst the noise a while ago?” asked a few disciples later.

The master replied, “You must understand, my friends, that silence is not the absence of sound. Silence is the absence of self.”


Photo by Mykl Roventine
Photo by Mykl Roventine

The master passed by a minister preaching against materialism. He was exhorting the congregation on the virtues of sacrificing their earthly desires for the rewards of heaven.

“Our treasure does not lie here on earth,” he said, “But it lies in the bosom of our heavenly Father.”

“Interesting,” remarked the master. “You preach against materialism but yours is even worse because you desire to bring it to the next life. You tell people not to cling to their possessions here by guaranteeing that they will have all those and more in the next life. You are after intangible rewards, but a reward nonetheless. What is so virtuous about that?”

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